How To Get Sharpie off Shoes (3 Easy Methods)

Everyone loves a new, clean pair of shoes, regardless of their style, fabric, or use case. But when you accidentally get Sharpie on your shoes, it can be a real pain to clean off.

Sharpie is a permanent marker and is notoriously difficult to remove from any surface. So you may be wondering how to get Sharpie off shoes.

Luckily, there are a few tried and true methods you can use to get Sharpie off your shoes, which we will share in this article. 

Method 1 – Use Sunscreen and a Clean Cloth

Sunscreen is a common household item typically used to protect skin from harsh UV rays. But many people don’t know that it can remove Sharpie stains from shoes.

We recommend this method for leather shoes specifically. Here’s how it works.

Step 1 – Put a Small Amount of Sunscreen Onto a Dry, Clean Cloth

You’ll want to get two items: a creamy sunscreen and one dry, clean cloth. Try to use both white sunscreen and a white cloth. The color white will help you determine if the method is working.

The white cloth will also help you determine whether you’re removing too much of the leather’s coloring, which you do not want. It’s important to start with a small amount of sunscreen.

Step 2 – Rub the Sunscreen on the Sharpie Stain

Next, place the cloth on the stain and gently rub the sunscreen into the mark.

Rubbing in small, circular motions is most effective. Make sure to rub gently to prevent any discoloring of the leather. Again, you’ll want to use a small amount of sunscreen at first.

Once you feel like you need more, add sunscreen bit by bit.

Step 3 – Rinse the Area With Warm, Soapy Water

Once you have successfully removed the Sharpie stain, it’s paramount to rinse the area with warm soapy water. You don’t want to leave sunscreen residue on your leather shoes. You risk damaging the leather. If you have leather conditioner you can add that after cleaning your shoes.

Method 2 – Use Distilled White Vinegar and Dishwasher Soap

Vinegar is a well-known cleaning product that you can use for a multitude of purposes. It’s inexpensive and effective, making it ideal for removing Sharpie stains from shoes.

Although there are certain items you should never clean with vinegar, using a small amount for shoes is generally safe. This cleaning method is best suited for shoes made of synthetic materials like nylon or polyester. Here’s how it works:

Step 1 – Combine Vinegar, Water, and Dishwasher Soap

First, you’ll want to create a mixture of one tablespoon dishwasher soap, one tablespoon distilled white vinegar, and two cups of water in a sizable bowl.

Step 2 – Test Out the Mixture on a Small, Hidden Area

After you mix everything, it’s important to test the concoction in a small, hidden area. This quick test is to confirm that the mixture won’t damage or discolor your shoes.

Another method you can try to avoid damage is to test it out on old shoes that you don’t care about as much, as long as they are similar and have the same fabric.

Step 3 – Dunk a Cloth in the Mixture and Begin Dabbing

If the mixture test went well, go ahead and dunk a clean cloth in it.

Then, begin dabbing the Sharpie stain with the cloth until it fades away.

It may take a few minutes for the color to disappear but keep gently yet firmly wiping until it’s gone. You may need to dunk the cloth into the mixture again, depending on the size of the stain.

Additionally, some people have the instinct to scrub at the stain, but dabbing is the best method as it will prevent damaging or discoloring the fabric.

Step 4 – Rinse With Cold Water and Allow to Air Dry

Once the stain has vanished, rinse the area with cold water and allow your shoes to air dry. Do not dry your shoes in the dryer, as this can cause the stain to set in and become permanent.

Method 3 – Use a Magic Eraser and Cool Water

This last method is a little bit different, as it doesn’t use everyday household items. Instead, try using a Magic Eraser, which you can find at most stores in the cleaning aisle.

This method is best for shoes made of tough materials like canvas, leather, or rubber. It’s also an excellent method if your stain covers two or more different types of fabric on your shoes.

Here’s how it works.

Step 1 – Wet the Magic Eraser

First, take your magic eraser and wet it in cool water until it’s saturated but not dripping. If it is soaked, make sure to squeeze it out because a dripping magic eraser will not work as well.

Additionally, you would want to limit the amount of moisture on the fabric of your shoes, especially if they are not waterproof or water-resistant.

Step 2 – Gently Rub the Magic Eraser on the Stain

Once it’s wet, begin gently rubbing the magic eraser on the Sharpie stain. Use small, circular motions and apply light pressure to prevent damaging the fabric.

You may need to go over the stain a few times for it to disappear completely.

Step 3 – Rinse the Area With Cool Water and a Little Soap

After the stain is gone, rinse the area with cool water and a little bit of soap.

Then, allow your shoes to air dry. Please do not dry them in the dryer, as this can cause the stain to set in and become permanent. You wouldn’t want that now, would you?


Congratulations! You’ve now learned how to get Sharpie off shoes using three different methods: sunscreen, distilled white vinegar, and a magic eraser. Whether you have leather, synthetic, or canvas shoes, there’s a method on this list that will work for you.

So, the next time you accidentally get a Sharpie stain on your shoes, don’t panic. Just act as quickly as you can, follow the steps above, and you will have your shoes looking good as new.

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